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Community heroes and professional stars to be recognised at 1st NatWest Cricket Awards

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Fans tuning in to watch the Vitality Blast Finals Day on 3 October will be treated to an exclusive broadcast of the NatWest Cricket Awards live on Sky Sports Cricket for the first time ever.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) and NatWest have come together to create the first ever NatWest Cricket Awards hosted by Sky. The event will combine the much-anticipated annual NatWest PCA Awards and NatWest Outstanding Service to Cricket Awards (OSCAs) into one exciting show, with awards interspersed amongst the Finals Day coverage.

Cricket’s biggest stars and club cricket heroes alike will be given the same platform as we celebrate their achievements in an extraordinary year that saw the game rally together to deliver a compelling season of international, domestic and recreational cricket against the odds. The Awards will reflect on the year’s highlights and challenges overcome, celebrate achievements on and off the field, and honour the cricket volunteers who have supported their communities during the most trying of circumstances.

The PCA Awards traditionally brings the curtain down on the professional season in the biggest awards ceremony in English and welsh cricket. It’s where hundreds of current and former players are joined by key members of the industry to champion the best performing individuals of the summer while reflecting on those who have given so much to the game.

This year, with the virtual event forming part of the NatWest Cricket Awards on Sky Sports, ten awards will be presented to professional players in England and Wales. Covering the full professional game, players will be honoured across international, domestic, men’s and women’s cricket. The three headline awards will be voted for by current professional cricketers: the NatWest PCA Men’s Player of the Year, the Vitality PCA Young Player of the Year and the NatWest PCA Women’s Player of the Year.

Last year saw Ben Stokes take home the Reg Hayter Cup in the men’s category at the 50th PCA Awards ceremony, while Sophie Ecclestone was named the standout performer in the women’s game and Tom Banton won Young Player of the Year.

There are also three ECB community awards taking place - #Raisethebat; Connecting Communities; and Proactive Leadership – in which volunteers will be recognised for the significant contribution they have made to cricket across England and Wales over the past year.

The nominees include inspirational volunteers like Kanan Thiyagarajah who used his club, Barking CC, as a hub to collect for local food banks and Miles Horner from Macclesfield CC who started his own podcast to keep club members entertained during lockdown and to extend the club’s reach in the community. Others, like Jane Reeson, not only worked hard to get cricket safely back up and running in their communities but also volunteered throughout the pandemic to support the vulnerable.

Martyn Wilson, Head of Sponsorship at NatWest Group, commented:

“At NatWest, we support cricket communities from the ground up. That’s why we’re delighted that the NatWest Cricket Awards will bring together two of our key end of season events into one special moment to celebrate those involved at every level – from the international stars to our grassroot heroes - who have all kept the game alive during this extraordinary summer. This year we’ve been united in adapting to get games back on safely and clubs up and running, and the new awards will allow us to celebrate the entire cricket community.”

Daryl Mitchell, Chairman of the PCA, said:

“In a year when it looked as though we may not see any international or domestic cricket take place at all, it’s fantastic that we are still able to celebrate the on-field achievements of PCA members during this most unique of summers.

“It is a testament to the hard work of - and sacrifices made by - the teams at the PCA, ECB, NatWest and Vitality that we have been able to come together to put on the NatWest Cricket Awards ceremony.

“I wish the very best of luck to those PCA members vying for each award category, and hope that you enjoy the show when it airs alongside Vitality Blast Finals Day on 3 October.”

Nick Pryde, ECB Director of Participation & Growth, said:

“Cricket wouldn’t be cricket without the amazing work of volunteers up and down the country. That has never been truer than in 2020 when we saw club volunteers come together to support their communities during lockdown and to help ensure the safe return of cricket. Their passion and drive to inspire the next generation of players are qualities that we at the ECB are so proud to honour via the NatWest Cricket Awards. It’s exciting that for the first time ever we can give them a platform alongside the professional stars live on Sky Sports, thanks to the help of our brilliant broadcast partner.”